North Korea will continue to remain East Asia’s trouble-maker. Pyongyang’s active missile and nuclear programs leave the region’s main powers - China, Japan, South Korea and the ‘offshore balancer’ US - stay on alert, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Pyongyang has no intention whatsoever to give up and dismantle its missile and nuclear programs as it would leave the country with no bargaining tools to employ for its political blackmail policies. China remains a staunch supporter of the current status quo, i.e.
Recent and ongoing shifts in Japan’s military security – both domestic and in relations with other countries – are once again stirring the debate about whether Japan’s security posture is set for radical change. Japan’s recent policies towards North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Iran and Afghanistan as well as new security issues suggest, however, that change is continuative.
Japan is facing hard times. Domestic politics is stuck in a stalemate and is as ever replacing Prime Minister every 12-18 months. Economic growth remains sluggish, the country is burdened with public debt amounting to 200% of the country’s GDP while at the same being confronted with a possibly nuclear-armed North Korea and a militarily growing assertive China. ISPI Studies has invited five authors European, Japanese and American authors to make sense of the current state and trends of Japanese politics, economics and foreign policies.